Thursday, August 25, 2011

Impact of RAPP XXVI

Though it's taken me all summer to code and analyse the data, I'm ready to announce the  pre- and post-test comparison of RAPP XXVI!  This is our second year being able to provide this information. 

As with any survey-based study, there are definitely limitations to the information pulled from the data. The survey instrument itself and the way in which the data was recorded and analyzed are all up for question.

Below is the overview of the report.  The full copy - including data/analysis limitations - should be posted on the RAPP website shortly.  In the meantime, if you'd like a copy please send me an email to request it!  --Rebecca L

Curriculum and Measurement

The flagship program of the Racial Awareness Program is the RAPP 9-month experiential social justice education program.  The 2010-11 class of RAPP was the 26th group of University of Cincinnati students to participate in this program.  As such, they are known as RAPP XXVI.

The curricular objectives for the RAPP 9-month program were established in Fall 2008 as:
  • Develop relationships with new people
  • Develop ability to communicate across difference for learning and understanding
  • Recognize that oppression is systemic, pervasive, interlocking, and imbedded
  • Appreciate cultural difference
  • Recognize own agency

The RAPP XXVI experience was facilitated by the RAPP Program Coordinator, an AmeriCorps Public Ally apprentice, and a Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies undergraduate intern.  Following the set of session goals that constitute the RAPP Curriculum, these three facilitators developed 11 sessions and three overnight retreats utilizing social justice education resources and intergroup dialogue practices.  Five student volunteers also helped facilitate the RAPP XXVI group process as peer educators and mentors – these five Peer Leaders had previously participated in the RAPP 9-month program and received pre-service and on-going training in social justice peer education.

The pre- and post-test instrument was developed and first implemented in Fall 2009.  RAPP XXVI is the second group on which it has been administered.  The pre-test was administered at the second meeting of the group and the post-test was administered at the eleventh (penultimate).

New to the 2010-11 analysis is exploration of the impact of participation on results, measured by amount of sessions attended.  The group was separated into two portions: Those that attended 81% or more of sessions (n=24; referred to from here out at “high commitment group”) and those that attended 76% or fewer sessions (n=17; referred to as “lower commitment group”).

Also new this year was the addition of three open-ended questions at the end of the post-test to gather general feedback from the group in reflecting on the 9-month experience

General Results

Sixty-eight students committed to RAPP XXVI, 59 of these graduated through the program in May 2011 (86.8% retention).  Forty of the 59 RAPP XXVI graduates completed both the pre- and post-test (67.8% of graduates).

All participants committed to participating in all RAPP XXVI meetings and retreats.  Participation was explored in detail in each test section due to the unusually low participation rate of RAPP XXVI members compared to the previous two years in which data was kept.  While ten students (17% of group) attended every meeting and retreat and another ten missed only one meeting or retreat during the year, the overall average for participation was 78%.  Thus, in analysis, the group was divided into “high commitment” (higher than the average, or those with 81-100% participation) and lower commitment (lower than the average, or those with 76% or lower participation).

Key Findings

By section, the key highlights are:

·         Identities – Overall, participants reported an increase in racial awareness.  When divided into dominant and subordinated group identities, White/Caucasian participants reported a strong increase in racial awareness and cisgendered men reported a moderate increase gender awareness.  Students who identified as identities other than heterosexual reported a strong increase in sexuality awareness.

·         Key Words – Overall, participants demonstrated an increase ability to define the provided key words (oppression, privilege, internalized oppression, ally, social construct, and intersectionality).  The greatest demonstrated increase was for intersectionality.

·         Challenging Others – Overall, participants reported being more likely to verbally express disagreement with statements they found offensive. The biggest reported increase was with expressing disagreement with strangers and professors.

·         Communicating – Overall, participants reported a slight increase in use of cross-cultural communication strategies with acquaintances.

·         Exploring Racism – Overall, participants were more likely to identify the connection with racism in individual, institutional, and social/cultural scenarios.  The greatest change overall occurred with recognizing connections to institutionalized racism.

·         Participation – Participants' level of commitment demonstrated impacts in the following areas:
o   Identities – High commitment participants demonstrated a strong increase in racial awareness, compared to a decrease in the lower commitment group.
o   Key Words – On all key words except for internalized oppression, the high commitment group demonstrated a greater increase in ability to define the key words.  The high commitment group had a substantially stronger increase on intersectionality, privilege, oppression, and ally.
o   Challenging Others – The high commitment group reported an increase in expressing disagreement in all relationship categories except for roommate (which held steady from pre- to post-test).  The lower commitment group reported a decrease in expressing disagreement in four of the eight relationship categories, holding steady in three others and demonstrating a small increase with professors.
o   Communicating – When combined, the group reported an increase in use of cross-cultural communication strategies in only one of three categories (acquaintances).  When split along commitment, the high commitment group demonstrated an increase with all three (acquaintances, good friends, and close family members) whereas the lower commitment group reported a decrease in use of these strategies with all three categories.
o   Exploring Racism – Participation had a mixed impact in recognizing different levels of racism.

·         Feedback – In response to open-ended questions on the post-test:
o   The five most commonly reported words to describe the RAPP XXVI experience were educational, fun, eye-opening, enlightening, and life-changing. 
o   The most commonly reported dislikes within the experience were around the time involvement of three-hour meetings, attendance issues, and issues within the process. 
o   The most commonly cited take-aways were multiple perspectives on issues/experiences, relationships, knowledge, and a sense of agency.

Included at the end of the full report are important-to-note limitations to the data and analysis.

A word cloud (created with Wordle) of the descriptions participants gave of their RAPP experience.  Click for larger view.

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